The Real-Life Diet of Trainer Akin Akman, Who Went Through a “12 Eggs Every Day” Phase

the-real-life-diet-of-trainer-akin-akman,-who-went-through-a-“12-eggs-every-day”-phase

Then, I’ll teach my night sessions, and I’ll cook at home. My go-to is ground turkey, green beans and rice. I do a lot of ground turkey. So I eat a lot of protein. I don’t really do protein powders or shakes right now. And I don’t do supplements, but I’m not against them.

Considering how much you sweat all day, do you have an insane skincare routine? 

No skincare routine, but I do need to moisturize more. I like facials and good products with sleek branding. I love the face oil from M-61. I’m still looking for a good clipper.

What’s your favorite food?  

My mom and grandma’s cooking is my favorite—all the Turkish food. I love my grandma’s food. Her tomato rice, akitma, and dolma. The kumru in Çeşme is the best.

Do you meal prep? 

I can’t meal prep, because whatever I cook, I have to eat it all. And then I’m like, how did I eat that? And I’m not full. It’s surprising.

Your stance on caffeine? 

I had some this morning. I get the Iced Lyria at Café Lyria. I also like Nespresso pods, but haven’t found a machine I love.

Nick Bolletieri pioneered the tennis boarding school, and coached every big name in the sport, from Agassi and Courier. So, instead of going to a normal school, you grew up going to his academy at IMG.

From age 7.

Your childhood friends were players like Maria Sharapova. And you trained on Nick’s court. Can you explain what that means? 

Everyone wanted to be in Nick’s group. Other coaches at the academy taught Nick’s method, but when you were in Nick’s group, you played with all the up-and-coming juniors and also the pros.

What did it take to be one of the chosen ones, and how did you fuel?

I woke up at 4 a.m. because I wanted to lift with the kids who had to do extra workouts. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to. Actual practice was at 6 a.m.

At 8 a.m., we would eat cafeteria breakfast, which was scrambled eggs and a bagel with cream cheese. I was addicted to Gatorade powder and Pixy Stix, and the cinnamon rolls from the vending machine next to the cafeteria.

We took a bus at 8:30 a.m. to go to school, and we were done at noon. Then, we trained until 5 or 6 p.m.

When was dinner?

Dinner was 6:30 p.m., and then study hall and lights out by 9 p.m. As I got older, like 11 or 12, I started adding to my schedule. I started doing 400 abs at that time. And at night, I would try to get either private lessons or I would run suicide sprints down 50 courts by myself.

For fun? 

I wouldn’t say for fun. I wanted to win. I wanted to be number one in the world, and that was a real dream. Everyone wanted to be number one. It was a place that built your work ethic and bred champions. You were surrounded by the best players in the world. So that kind of rubs off on you.

Clearly, your physical conditioning is in a league of its own. But you talk way more about mental conditioning.

You can train all you want. If your mind doesn’t believe that you can execute in a moment of distress, then you won’t execute because you don’t trust your body. It didn’t matter how much I trained. I had to get my mind right. At the academy they did put a lot of emphasis on mindset training too.

You trained to be a professional tennis player, but how many sports have you played total? 

Tennis, soccer, track, water polo, and I taught kite surfing.

Is it true you’ve also taught parkour? 

I also taught Kangoo once.

You’ve been through a lot of phases with food in life as an athlete. You’ve gone from living paycheck to paycheck to here. Biggest learning? 

Yeah, the eating changed based off of what I could afford. When I first moved to New York, sometimes my friends would shop from the Dollar Store and get hot dogs. So, I would too. But it didn’t feel good. I was living on a budget. For a while I ate Subway thinking it was healthy, but it was all processed meat. What you eat will always somehow show up on your body. It affects everything. I learned to eat what feels good and what brings me joy.

In pro sports, since everyone plays at a high level, coaches focus a lot on body language. And you do the same thing. What specific body language do you teach people to communicate?

I teach people confidence. How to be assertive, how to feed courage, and believe in what they’re doing, and their abilities to overcome.

Can you describe the body language of a winner?

You can see it in every sport. They walk with a purpose. They’re generous with their energy. They’re upright. There’s a joy and gratitude radiating off of them. 

According to a 2022 study by the International Olympic Committee, over 45% of athletes reported suffering from anxiety and depression once transitioning out of their sport. They describe it as feeling like a part of them has died. Did you feel like part of you died when you left tennis?

For sure. For a long time, tennis was my identity. And when I got injured, it was really, really not great for me. So I kind of closed up. It was so much internal pain. And then, I had to figure out a different path. I realized the sport gave me skills I could apply to other things. I realized I can do anything. I’m always going to be okay. I mean, I had to learn how to walk again. Anything is possible after that.

There’s a big nostalgia factor at your studio for anyone who grew up playing a sport. The families, the high fives, all of it. Is that the vibe on purpose? 

I loved training at the academy. It’s a world where you’re inspired to move, to do, to be, to become. You’re surrounded by greatness. You get to learn from them. Everybody wants to be something. Everybody’s working toward a goal, with work ethic and dreams like no other. That’s what I know. And originally I wanted to train athletes who miss that world. I thought I’d go into pro athlete training. But then it resonated with everyone, people who never grew up with that now claim and love it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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The Real-Life Diet of Trainer Akin Akman, Who Went Through a “12 Eggs Every Day” Phase

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